I had the unit for about a year, in the version with the smaller power supply, which I used with a Pass X-1 line preamp (same version). Both were excellent in every respect. If you have any specific questions, let me know.
Yes, well, perhaps I should provide more detail as to why I pose the question. I am considering going with a separate line and phono stage. I would like to continue with a tube line stage in front of my SS McCormack amp but am open to a SS phono stage. I have seen a number of comments regarding tube phono stages, but little about SS pieces. Having seen the specs for the XOno, I am intrigued and would like to find out with what associated equipment users have employed theirs and with what results.
I just bought one to replace an ARC PH-1. The PH-1 was available at the time I found a used ARC LS-22 and needed a phono stage. Just before the end of the year, I came across a deal from A/V Logic in Des Moines, IA. They claim to be the largest Pass dealer in the country and got the following deal.
When Pass recently upgraded the cosmetics of the units, they had some of the old power supply boxes left over. They let A/V Logic sell these units with the cosmetically upgraded control box (silver sides). All electronics I'm told are identical. The Xono is reviewed by Anthony Cordesman in Issue 128 (Feb/Mar 2001). It's listed as a Class A unit in Stereophile's Oct 2002 issue.
A/V Logic's deal was $2400 (vs $4200 for the new cosmetics). It was shipped just as described directly from the factory in California. I just checked their site and the offer is still open. (http://www.audiovideologic.com/)
What a spectacular difference, even with only a Benz Glider. The Glider is in a Graham 1.5 on a VPI MkIV and is on the way out in favor of something better suited to the rest of my analog chain. It's one of the quietest phono units available, both reviews say so and I can attest. It has practically infinite adjustment possibilities for cartridge matching via dip switches accessable through the top. GO FOR IT.
I can't speak to the X but did have a Ono. I used the Ono for a few months and found it uninvolving, so sold it and am now using and very satisfied with a Krell KPE REF.
The Krell is very quiet, dynamic and offers a very believable soundstage. I recommend the KPE easily as compared to the Ono.
p.s. the KPE uses 1994 technology and has not been upgraded
I just got one (similar deal as Donem)to replace my Linn Linto. Nothing wrong with the Linto, but it wa sa good opportunity to get a more future-proof phono pre at a great price. Still very much in the burn-in stage, but it is quiter than the Linto, with blacker backgrounds, more dynamic range, and outstanding soundstaging. I certainly would not call it uninvolving. It IS extremely neutral, so associated components play a big role, Big advantages for are the balanced outpt and the grounding scheme. Iwas never able to connect the ground cable to my Linot without getting hum, but the qay the Xono does it there is nothing but silence with the grounding cord connected.
As to the comparison with the original ONO, I've had both, and the X-ONO was noticeably richer and warmer. The ONO tended to be a bit on the lean, dry side. I used the X-ONO both with a SS (the X-1) and tube (Lamm L-1) line stage, and thought it worked beautifully with either. The only caveat I would make is that I found the sound noticeably superior using the balanced outputs (yes, I know its output is higher using the balanced outputs; I mean even after you compensate for that difference).
Beware the x-ono with the smaller black power supply. This is the supply for the original Ono. This product being offered on close out as hybrid cosmetics and the same electronics as the x-ono is not true at all. The real x-ono has a full size power supply that gives it the warmer tone. The hybrid is really nothing more than an ono in disguise.
Hmmm. If that is the case, and you have proof, Reb, I would think that those who have purchased them would have a claim for false advertising. I have seen the same deal posted on the Galen Carol site. Galen Carol is reputed to be beyond reproach, so I would like to know your sources for what you state, Reb. What say you, Donem?
Why don't you call Pass Labs directly. I did as I was also seriously considering the "closeout" deal. The information I post was told to me by Pass Labs themselves- albeit after about a 10 minute conversation. The warmer tone may only be audible on speakers over 96db efficiency- according to Pass. And I was told the full size supply has larger storage caps and differences in circuit board layout. Do with the information as you choose.
I did call Pass Labs up. From a functional and voltage output standpoint, the units are the same. Obviously in the larger chassis there is an opportunity to open up the circuit layout, since there is more room. It was explained to me that the style of capacitor may have changed, but again, a large part of this difference is cosmetic, in the size and type aluminum used in the chassis. They do a lot of offshore business, and this market wanted the full size chassis. Plus, the Aleph Ono had an internal power supply, so obviously there is a difference there.
I got the same info from Pass. The person I spoke to told me that on his own system at home he ran both the X-1 and X-ONO off one original small power supply and didn't hear any difference, and that if he had, all he had to do was take one or two larger power suppies home. At one point I ran both the X-1 and X-ONO off one smaller power supply (space reasons) and I certainly didn't hear any differnce.
I too bought the XONO and X-1 from Audio Logic. I would say they are ultra quiet compared to my old Audible Illusions. sounds great with great material.